“Twenty-eight, twenty-nine, thirty – Ready-or-not, here I come!”
I was playing hide-and-seek with my kids the other day. It was a joyful time of trying to find the elusive spot that no one would find, and surprising a child tucked in a cabinet or under a blanket that would erupt into giggles. I have many fond memories playing hide-and-seek as a kid and as a father. As we were wrapping up our game, the thought struck me of the game of hide-and-seek people play at work. Unfortunately, the outcomes of this common corporate game are not bonding and cheerful memories that lead to productive and happy people. The outcomes of this game are distrust, fear, misalignment, poor decision making, and animosity which lead to unproductive and unhappy people.
The adult game of hide-and-seek at work is played in two ways. The first way is not being accessible. The second is not being engaged in the moment. Let me explore some reasons people hide. Here are some common phrases people say to themselves that lead to hiding.
- “I’m too busy.”
- “I trust them to do their job.”
- “I fear my own limited knowledge.”
- “I fear getting into relational tension.”
- “It’s not in my style to engage with people. I’m more of an introverted person.”
- “I don’t want people to think I’m micromanaging them.”
- “It will blow over.”
We might think the opposite of hiding is being found. That is not true. The opposite of hiding is being transparent. “Here I am!”
Let me provide you with a few ideas that will help you be more transparent by being accessible and engaged. I will focus first on being accessible.
- Consistently meet one-on-one with people you lead, manage, or influence in some manner. If you have direct reports, formally meet with each person at least once every other week for a minimum of 30 minutes.
- Make yourself visible by leaving your door open, unplugging from head phones, intentionally walking around to thoughtfully talk with people, and regularly scheduling social experiences like coffee or lunch.
- Openly communicate when you are and are not available.
The second part of being transparent is being engaged in the moment. Here are some ways to be more engaged in the moment.
- Pause mentally, emotionally, and physically when engaged in a conversation so you can listen well. This means disconnecting with distractions, i.e. electronic devices, and focusing in on the other person.
- Be curious about others’ interests, goals, ideas, challenges, setbacks, development, and work.
- Handle conflicts and issues quickly. Address these challenges with tack, concern, and focus.
- Appropriately share your concerns, challenges, struggles, and mistakes.
A transparent leader is accessible and engaged in the moment. As you consider the two lists of ways to be more transparent, which behaviors will you commit to doing for the next two months so you do not find yourself in a hiding place?